McALESTER — McAlester senior Noah Rose has always enjoyed running, but he never liked sprinting. Short races, after all, last just a matter of seconds — not nearly enough time to really enjoy the experience.
When Rose joined McAlester’s cross country team this year, he finally found a sport that would allow him to really run.
“It’s peace,” Rose said Saturday. “You forget everything that’s going on. You’re just fully relaxed.”
Born in McAlester, Rose moved to Washington, Penn., when he was 2 and stayed there for four years. When his grandmother died when he was 6, he said, he returned with his father and brother to McAlester to be nearer to his grandfather.
Rose said he’d wanted to join the Buffs in previous seasons, but multiple reasons — too low numbers for a team, a now-ex-girlfriend — always kept him from joining. When Rose finally did join before his senior year, he did so with gusto, attending every offseason workout this past summer.
That dedication impressed both his teammates and his coaches, who chose him as team captain.
“I felt really happy about it,” Rose said of being named captain. “I didn’t expect it to be me.
“My biggest goal is to make sure everybody is focused, working hard, showing up to practice. If there’s any problem, they can come to me.”
Rose ran track during the spring in both his freshman and junior years, and he said he plans to do so again this spring. But whereas his best mile-splits never broke the seven-minute mark in the spring season, he’s already brought his split down to under six minutes this fall.
Rose credited his dramatic improvement to encouragement from his dad and summer runs and CrossFit sessions with his Buffs teammates.
“Douglas Hill, that was a really hard workout, and really made me think about (keeping my) arms past my hips,” Rose said. “That’s the main thing you want to do when you’re running.